The federal government has announced a multimillion-dollar funding package to assist with family dispute resolution.
Speaking at the National Association of Community Legal Centres Conference in Canberra on Friday, Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis announced a $9.87 million funding boost for family services.
Mr Brandis said $6.2 million of this funding will be allocated to a new family dispute resolution service being piloted at eight locations around the country.
The trial locations are Tamworth and Bankstown in NSW, Sunshine and Broadmeadows in Victoria, Toowoomba and Upper Mt Gravatt in Queensland, Perth and Darwin.
The services are intended to help couples affected by separation agree on arrangements for their children without going to court.
A statement from the Attorney-General’s Department said the program will offer tailored services to complement mediation with legal and culturally appropriate support. This will include partnerships between family relationship centres and specialists such as legal, migrant and Indigenous-specific service providers, as well as interpreters.
The pilots are part of the government’s $100 million commitment under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.
The remaining $3.67 million announced on Friday will be delivered over the next two years to the 65 government-funded Children’s Contact Services around the country.
Children’s Contact Services provide safe, neutral spaces for supervised visits and changeovers. The additional funding will bring their total Commonwealth funding to over $17 million per year.
Bond University recently launched its own family dispute resolution clinic through a partnership between its Faculty of Law and its Psychology Clinic.